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Jets Sign RB Tarik Cohen

Release RB Markese Stepp

Carolina Panthers running back Tarik Cohen (33) covers a kick during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

The Jets have signed RB Tarik Cohen and waived RB Markese Stepp.

Cohen (5-6, 181), 28, was drafted by the Bears out of North Carolina A&T in the fourth round (No. 119) of the 2017 draft. He spent four seasons with Chicago from 2017-20 and racked up 1,101 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground in 51 games (22 starts).

Cohen had his best season in 2018 with 1,169 all-purpose yards and 8 total touchdowns. In addition, he earned Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections as a kick and punt returner after leading the NFL in punt returns with 33 and yards with 411. He also finished second in punt return average tallying 12.5 yards per return. As a rookie in 2017, he ended the season second in kick return yards with 583. He has been a dual-threat player since he joined the league racking up 4,286 all-purpose and return yards in his four healthy seasons with Chicago.

In one start against the Jets in Week 8 of 2018, he recorded 110 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. In 2020, he sustained a torn ACL, missed the remainder of the 2020 season and all of 2021 before being released in March 2022. While working out as a free agent in 2022, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon. He was officially cleared to play last August in August of 2023 and spent last season on the Panthers' practice squad before being released in May.

Stepp (6-1, 225), 24, signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent following his participation in rookie minicamp. He finished his college career playing two seasons for Western Kentucky after one season with Nebraska and three with USC. In his final season for the Hilltoppers, Stepp played in 11 games and tallied 310 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. For his career, Stepp played in 38 games over six seasons and ran for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns.